My Photo
Location: Central Michigan, United States

Spent a long career making lots of money for other people. Now it's my turn. _____________________________ Email:

Monday, February 19, 2007

Lots of Us

During the noon break, I went into the lunch room to take part in a birthday celebration for a senior employee. There were approximately a dozen people in the room. I helped myself to a large piece of cake on my way to take a seat at one of the tables.

As I wolfed down the delicious German chocolate cake, I casually listened to fragments of the various conversations taking place around me. Some were talking about ice fishing---one woman proudly announced the large catch of Walleye her husband and young son had brought home the day before. Others were commenting on the snowmobiling conditions in the area. A man described the features of a new machine he intended to purchase during the coming weekend. Another person bitched about something a supervisor had said a few days ago. They were the typical mixed-company lunch room conversations.

At a lull in the conversations, a woman asked me what I had been doing recently with my spare time. She wanted to know if I had been ice fishing, snowmobiling, skiing...or what? Thinking about getting another piece of cake instead of thinking first about my response to the woman’s question, I said, “None of the above. For the past year or so, I’ve spent most of my free time at my writing.” It was a dumb thing to say.

“You’re writing?”---came the question of surprise from another woman. In addition were the chuckles from the men and giggles from the women. With a mouth full of cake, I mumbled, “Yeah.”

“You are writing a book?” The smiling first woman said. “Yeah,” I mumbled again.

Fortunately, the conversation turned away from me when the first woman declared, “I’ve always wanted to write a book. I have this wonderful romance story in mind that would make a fantastic book! It would make a great movie too!” A woman, silent until now, joined in to say basically the same. One of the men said he had a great story about Vietnam that he should write. And so the conversation continued among the dozen or so people in the room. I was content at that point to just finish eating my piece of cake.

Finished with the first piece, I decided against a second, politely excused myself and left the room to go back to my work. I stopped at the Men’s Room along the way to take a leak. While shaking the dew off my lily, I couldn’t help but to laugh. Not at my lily, but at the conversation that had occurred from the mention of writing a book.

Yesterday, I was visiting with one of the salesmen at the local Ford Dealership while I waited for my Built Tough, beat-to-shit Ford pickup to be serviced. The salesman said to me early in our conversation, “By the way, one of the gals you work with said something to me the other day about you supposedly writing something?” It is a small town! I looked around for a Men’s Room, but not seeing one handy replied, “Nah, nothing serious. Writing just keeps my hands and fingers out of trouble.” The salesman grinned, winked, and said, “Ya know, I’ve always been interested in writing a book. Let’s go over to my office and I’ll tell you about this great story I want to write.” Now, I politely asked him where the Men’s Room was and told him that if the Service Guys weren’t finished with my truck, I would be happy to come back to his office to hear all about it.”

As I shook the dew off my lily, I couldn’t help but laugh. Not at my lily, of course, but at how many “fellow writers” there are. Then I thanked the writing gods for my truck being ready to go.


Anonymous Ric said...

That about says it all, Erik. Been there, done that.

8:57 AM EST  
Blogger ivan said...

A writer is always a better chick magnet than a salesman, or even an astronomer.
In this year of the pig, I tell people I'm a pig farmer.

But then that draws a hubbub around you too.
"A pig farmer!" the vet's wife will remark. Do you have much incidence of swine urisipe?"
She had me there. I didn't know pigs had heart attacks.
Like Ric, above, probably, I just tell people I'm a man about town.
...But then everybody in town knows me--usually for the worse.


10:35 AM EST  
Blogger Erik Ivan James said...

Thanks, Ric. Good to see you.

12:05 PM EST  
Blogger EA Monroe said...

~laughing~ No, not at your "lily!" And I won't ask you about your writing either, umm...err... what I really want to know is umm... err.. is your "lily" gold leafed? Darn it all. I am so embarrassed, but I am hitting the "published" button anyway!

2:02 PM EST  
Blogger EA Monroe said...

Ps -- you might want to delete that comment! I'm up to my usual mischief.

2:03 PM EST  
Blogger Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Oh, I'd rather hear the, "I've always wanted to write a book, too!" comments than the "Have you written anything I'd know?" ones. Ugh. I hate those.

3:30 PM EST  
Blogger Erik Ivan James said...

The ladies that stop by here already KNOW I'm a pig, Ivan.

5:23 PM EST  
Blogger Erik Ivan James said...


"There IS gold in them thar jeans...errm...hills, woman!"

Ooops! Sorry, EA. A slip of the


5:26 PM EST  
Blogger Erik Ivan James said...

Susan, WELCOME! Thank you for your visit. I will return the courtesy soon.

Oh, I agree with you. And that one stops me cold, because I haven't written anything that anyone would know, yet.

5:33 PM EST  
Blogger ivan said...

Clear the track!

Handcar coming!

7:30 PM EST  
Blogger Donnetta Lee said...

I went to a conference for children's writers a couple of months ago. One of the presenters told the story of how she kept postponing actually writing until she met a 75 year old lady who told her that she intended to write one of these days. The presenter said, she made the decision then and there to get busy and write before she was 75 and still hadn't done it.

Told the story better than that,of course!

Always admired a little gold trim myself. Liz, Liz! Donnetta

9:49 PM EST  
Blogger Bernita said...

Mention of writing ( or maybe any occupation) seems to bring out the competition gene in many people,doesn't it?

6:45 AM EST  
Blogger Erik Ivan James said...


Yes, now is the time to scribble the words...before the future becomes the past. Before time is all behind us.

6:56 AM EST  
Blogger Erik Ivan James said...

You know, Bernita, I sometimes it the compitition in us? Or is it just the fantasy in us?

As always, you raise an interesting question.

6:58 AM EST  
Blogger spyscribbler said...

LOLOL ... and my DH wonders why I keep whispering to him, "don't mention I write!" You either have to listen to stories like that, or worry about the other party think you're one of those "writers" who don't write, LOL!

10:56 AM EST  
Blogger Meander said...

i always feel slightly queasy saying i am a writer even though i am about to have something of mine published. i feel like this faker who is about to be found out.

how would you answer this everyone who writes a "writer?" what does it mean anyway?

8:12 PM EST  
Blogger December Quinn said...

I constantly forbid my husband to tell people I write...but he always forgets and does it anyway. I hate that. I hate having to answer questions about my books, or my work, or listen to other people talk about it...ugh. It must be harder for a man.

I think you should begin to cultivate an aura of drunken eccentricity. Think of everything you can get away with if people know you're a writer. I firmly believe this is why Hemingway wrote. He didn't drink because he wrote; he wrote to give him an excuse to drink.

6:32 PM EST  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home